Full Version: New Spartacus from the man Who Brought You Xena...
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I honestly can not tell if this is good or bad, but I must admit I have my doubts. Crossing Spartacus with 300 & Sin City...? Kubrik this is not

Confusedhock: :roll: :?

This from the Hollywood Reporter:

"[size=150:150pg3fa]Spartacus" unshackled with Starz[/size]

By Kimberly Nordyke – Mon Oct 27, 5:42 am ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Starz is bringing "Spartacus" to life on the small screen, greenlighting a 13-episode series set in the brutal world of gladiators.

The series -- developed by "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi, production partner Rob Tapert and Joshua Donen -- will start production in New Zealand early next year, targeted for a summer debut on Starz and its suite of channels. The network touted the series' production values; it's estimated that the budget will end up north of $2 million an episode.

"Spartacus" was inspired by the real-life slave of the Roman Republic who in 73 B.C. led a slave revolt that grew to more than 120,000 fighters. Starz said the story will be "reimagined" it for what it calls a generation of TV viewers raised on graphic novels and cutting-edge production technology.

"This is not going to be at all like the 1960s Kirk Douglas film," said Stephan Shelanski, Starz Entertainment executive vp programing. "We didn't want your typical sword-and-sandals. It's going to be fun, fast-moving, full of action and interesting characters and have a little more depth to it than the 1960s film."

Shelanski added that the show will be produced specifically for a premium cable audience, with "R-rated" action and storytelling. The goal is to accomplish the graphic-novel look and feel of such movies as "300" and "Sin City." As with "300," producers also will be looking to cast "Spartacus" with a group of fresh-faced, unknown actors.

"Spartacus" will be one of the first TV series to use an "almost 100% virtual environment," added William Hamm, executive vp original production at Starz, using live-action actors against virtual sets in the style of "300" and "Sin City."

"It will bring the younger audience who has grown up on graphic novels and video games this heightened reality; it's not going to look like anything you've seen before, especially on TV," said Hamm, who previously worked with Raimi and Tapert on the duo's "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys."

"Spartacus" marks Starz's second original drama after "Crash," a series based on the Oscar-winning ensemble drama.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter


Well, I guess it might be fun...hey, Xena was fun. But somehow, I don't think you'll need your history books to check the sequence of events.... :?
"a little more depth"?
The new Spartacus series opens on January 22 on the Starz Cable Channel.

News: They have already ordered a Second Season even before the first episode has aired.

This Article from the Sunday LA Times. ... 0232.story

SCRIPTED |[size=150:z315vd84] 'SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND'[/size]
Like 'Spartacus,' Starz lives by the sword
The pay-cable channel hopes to attract attention with its bloody, steamy take on the gladiator tale. Green screen helps save some green.

By Scott Collins
January 10, 2010

The gladiators of ancient Rome may have endured horribly violent lives, but they also saw plenty of overheated sex. At least that's the version of history on display in "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," a sword-and-sandals epic that Starz, the premium cable network, rolls out Jan. 22.

Viewers who recall the old Kirk Douglas film about the Roman slave who leads an uprising may rub their eyes in disbelief. The Starz take has naked flesh to spare, not to mention more blood than the Red Cross. The network, which late last month took the unusual step of ordering a second season before the premiere has even aired, is already calling it "the boldest show on television."

So the channel's executives may hope. The cable outlet, best known as an outlet for studio features, is joining the industry's rush into original series programming. "Spartacus" is a flashy, big-budget attempt to forge a brand, complete with a big-name costar ( Lucy Lawless, erstwhile heroine of the syndicated "Xena: Warrior Princess") and the heavily stylized, comic-book-like use of green-screen technology familiar from movies like "300" and "Sin City."

The producers are hoping to strike the right balance by offering something not seen anywhere else on TV, without possibly scaring away the less adventurous.

"We tried to do the western, operatic version of violence and bloodshed," said Rob Tapert, who serves as executive producer with his creative partners, Joshua Donen and director Sam Raimi (Tapert is also Lawless' husband).

"We wanted to make it so it'd appeal to the widest audience possible, so we didn't have the female audience being absolutely repulsed by bloodshed," he added.

One way to further that aim? Cue the love story. Here, Spartacus (Australian actor Andy Whitfield) just wants to kill a lot of rivals so he can get back to his wife.

But whether all this will yield a breakthrough for Starz remains an open question. Fans warmly received the premiere of a 90-second trailer last summer at the Comic-Con in San Diego, and there's clearly an appetite for high-energy retellings of ancient history.

"300," a blood-soaked, in-your-face interpretation of the Greek battle of Thermopylae that was based on Frank Miller's graphic novel, in 2007 grossed more than $200 million in the U.S. "Gladiator," the 2000 film with Russell Crowe, won critical acclaim and wide viewership.

The sword-and-sandals genre can be tricky, however. HBO's "Rome" performed well in the ratings but was expensive and plagued by production snafus, leading to its cancellation after two seasons. ABC's "Empire" miniseries in 2005 was dissed by critics and failed to connect with a large audience.

Many viewers who might want to check out "Spartacus" will probably have to order the premium cable channel because Starz, while widely available on DirecTV and the vast majority of cable operators, has only about 17 million U.S. subscribers. Nor is the channel considered a haven for original series; " Crash," the contemporary drama starring Dennis Hopper that was based on the Oscar-winning film, was the channel's first high-profile scripted effort.

But network officials say "Spartacus" can help change the outlet's image.

"While movies are still our big driver here," said Bill Hamm, executive vice president of creative development of Starz, "you still have to have stuff that people can only find on your channel."

The project initially came out of the producers' talks with NBC several years ago. Ben Silverman, at the time in charge of the network's programming, was looking for splashy programs that could be promoted during the Olympics telecasts, according to Tapert. Donen suggested a series based on the Spartacus legend because the 1960 movie, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is part of the NBC Universal film library.

"We had a few meetings with Ben, tried to get a deal in place, but it never went," Tapert said.

As it happened, Hamm had worked for Raimi and Tapert earlier in his career, and that connection helped get the project set up at Starz.

The green-screen technology enabled the producers to cut costs, with a price tag of less than $3 million per episode, less than the typical broadcast series budget. "Empire" and "Rome" were shot using Italian studios and locations, where expenses quickly mounted. "Spartacus" took advantage of tax breaks in New Zealand -- where Tapert and Lawless now spend much of the year -- and was shot entirely on soundstages, with effects and settings filled in later by computer.

"By utilizing that technology, we were able to work with the budget we had to work with on this," Tapert said. "If we had to go and do this series like they did 'Empire' or like they did 'Rome,' we would've never made it. It would've made it waytoo expensive."

To head up a small writing staff, the producers hired Steven S. DeKnight, a heavily tattooed protégé of writer-producer Joss Whedon. DeKnight relished the opportunity to plumb the story's violent and erotic possibilities.

"I like the dark stuff, and I like to push it," DeKnight explained.

Indeed, on a few occasions Starz executives found themselves pulling back on the producers' leash. A messy scene in which Spartacus tears out a rival's throat with his teeth had to go, DeKnight said.

And as for the sex? One orgy sequence contained "an incident with a ladle that I won't get into," DeKnight said. That too was nixed after pleading from executives. In retrospect, "I think I agree with them on that one."

Lawless, who became a feminist icon with her portrayal of Xena in the 1990s, said she'd never done a nude scene before. But as shooting on the first season's 13 episodes progressed, the actress -- who plays Lucretia, the Lady Macbeth-type wife of the owner of the school where Spartacus trains -- became blasé about the show's rampant sexuality.

"You just get incredibly comfortable with it," she said on the phone from New Zealand. "You're like a tribe in a far-flung corner of the world."

Even so, it's likely most viewers won't be quite as nonchalant -- and Starz executives are praying that many will be shocked into watching.

Whitfield, who plays the title role, noted that a PG-13 version of "Spartacus" is scheduled to be shown in his native Australia.

"I'm anxious to see it," he said with a wry chuckle. "I can't imagine what's in it."

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Oh my ... Confusedhock: :?

Watched the trailer. Plus side - some very accurate gladiator outfits. Minus side - they're accurate for the 8th decade AD, not for the 8th decade BC. But you take what you can get. Will I watch it? Lucy Lawless naked? Are you seriously asking such a question?
Quote:Watched the trailer. Plus side - some very accurate gladiator outfits. Minus side - they're accurate for the 8th decade AD, not for the 8th decade BC.

Not accurate enough - I watched only the picture which is shown when following the link and there I saw that they two fighters wear sandals (not even nailed caligae). But gladiators always fought barefooted. One is wearing the "leg manica" of a murmillo but no scutum etc. So why is he wearing that thing at all in that scene? Anyhow, I agree that they have more authentic looking gladiator gear than in "Gladiator".
Did you also notice in the photograph that the "gladiator" on the right seems to be wearing a mask made of a human face? (Shades of John Woo or Texas Chainsaw Massacre) :?

At the very end of the trailer there's a pair, one of whom is doing a Hong Kong leap, dressed in what seem to be fairly authentic Thraex and Murmillo outfits, probably taken from the Angus McBride illustrations. Unfortunately, I think I saw that weird helmet from "Gladiator" with the hemispherical visor and what appears to be a duck head on top, and they have that Hollywood compulsion to arm gladiators with silly-looking axes. What the hell, I'll watch it anyway. I mean, Lucy Lawless naked is worth a lot of historical inaccuracy. Hell, she's worth watching with her clothes on.
The first review is in, and it is mostly just self serving PR.

Lucy Lawless asks if the nudity is gratuitous and is assured it is not. Confusedhock: Confusedhock: Confusedhock:

Ha! Everything about this production is gratuitous.

Oh well -- Bread & Circuses... ... Nwc3Rvcg--

[size=150:150mbzte]Starz thrills and shocks with its new 'Spartacus'[/size]

By FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer – Thu Jan 21, 12:02 pm ET

NEW YORK – "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" isn't exactly put-your-feet-up-and-relax television.

Premiering on cable's Starz network at 10 p.m. EST Friday, this new action-adventure series grabs you with its raciness, derring-do and visual pizazz.

It's based on the real-life Thracian slave-turned-rabblerouser from the first century B.C. (and, a couple of millenniums later, on the Stanley Kubrick film starring Kirk Douglas). But more, this TV reimagining teems with the sort of fabulousness that thrilled, inspired and grossed out fans of Zack Snyder's digitized masterpiece, "300."

Like that 2006 film, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" is a blend of hyper-realism and epic fantasy where, during battle, ragged streams of a victim's spilled blood pause lazily in mid-air before soaking the ground.

It's a world where brawny gym rats clad themselves in circa-B.C. thongs, or less; where steamy trysts and orgies are the rage; where even leading lady Lucy Lawless ("Xena: Warrior Princess") has her moments in the buff.

One spicy scene finds her, as Lucretia, about to get romantic with husband Batiatus (John Hannah), a Roman sports impresario whose "ludus" — an extreme training camp for gladiators — is where Spartacus is enslaved. Lucretia and Batiatus are hot for each other, that's clear. But to get things started with maximum ease, each spouse calls upon an attendant to supply the needed foreplay.

In short, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" is a series guaranteed to make you sit up and take notice.

Andy Whitfield stars as Spartacus, who is powerful, rebellious and charismatic. He's a warrior who seemingly can't be defeated, which means in the arena he could prove to be a valuable attraction for Batiatus.

He's a crowd-pleaser all right. But he's also a handful, the sort of guy who — if you remember your history — just might go and stir up a slave revolt. That presumably comes later in the series, which already has been picked up for another season.

But early in this first 13-episode cycle, he and Batiatus form a tense slave-master bond. Spartacus can help bolster Batiatus' shaky revenue, while Batiatus agrees to help Spartacus get what he wants most: not the fame and glory most gladiators seek, but a reunion with his beloved wife, Sura (Erin Cummings), who, early on, is torn from his arms and, like him, sold into slavery.

Visions of Sura infuse his dreams. During his life of almost indescribable hardship at the ludus — "where men are forged into gods, with blood their ambrosia," roars their trainer — it is Sura who keeps Spartacus going.

The series boasts impressive behind-the-camera credits. Executive producers include Sam Raimi (director of the "Spider-Man" trilogy) and Rob Tapert (creator of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena," which made Lawless a global star in the 1990s).

Tapert, by the way, is also married to Lawless.

"He told me, 'Look, there is this role that might be right for you. But there is some nudity,'" Lawless recalls in a recent interview.

"I said, 'It's not gratuitous?' And he said, 'No, it's all within the context of the story.' And I said, 'I'm there.'"

"That's a tricky sort of role to put your wife in," muses Whitfield, who has joined her for the interview.

"Bad Girls 'R' Me, it seems," Lawless chuckles. "But it was really confronting. I'm 41, I've never done it before. I'm not used to getting my kit off (British slang for stripping) in front of all those people — and pretending to like it."

"I stayed PRETTY naked most of the time," remarks Whitfield, thinking of those leather Speedos. "Then the first time you do a sex scene and you're NAKED-naked, you get used to it pretty quick. Afterward, people are like, 'Do you want a robe?' 'No, I'm fine.' 'Wear a robe, please! This is the lunch queue!'"

Playing Spartacus "is my dream job," says Whitfield, 38, a British-born actor whose credits until now were concentrated on Australian TV. "This is guaranteed to change you as an actor, to put you through the wringer. Every emotional situation you could ever imagine is going to happen to Spartacus!"

Lawless says she wanted in on the show because "it would be a new kind of television. It was bringing in the technology and scale that modern audiences encounter at the cinema, but on a budget and schedule that would work for TV."

Shot in Lawless' native New Zealand, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" is filmed entirely indoors against a green screen that is later superseded by CGI wizardry. For example, when Spartacus faces beastly opponents in the sprawling arena, it only looks like there are stands filled with multitudes of rowdy spectators.

"You don't have 40,000 people available for those scenes," Lawless notes, "so you get 100 and keep dressing them up and moving them around, and jigsaw the whole thing together with a computer."

It works. The show looks gorgeous, from its grisly, fancifully staged blood-sport to the majestic scudding skies that loom beyond the ludus training yard.

But "Spartacus" is more than pretty (often pretty shocking) pictures.

"As time progresses, I think viewers will be invested in their relationships with the characters," says Whitfield.

And Lawless adds, "We want viewers to see themselves in the characters, to feel they understand what motivates those people. Even if you wouldn't behave the same way yourself, we want you to be complicit."

:roll: :?

Just watched the first episode, talk about a mixture of periods. 5th C BC Greeks, 1st century Romans wearing Museum Replica loricae, in what should be 1st C BC. The caligae! They could of asked first. Lots of naked ladies, not that I'm complaining about that, but it makes me wonder what the public is going to now expect at our reenactment events. Got a keep an eye out for women in furs. Oh, and don't get me started about mixed sexes in the arena stands, women up above separate from the men, please. The fighting wasn't that bad though. I'll be watching the next show nevertheless.
Just finished watching the 1st episode of the new Spartacus series on Starz...

The show opens with a warning about the nudity, violence and sensuality to wit (I'm paraphrasing) "This is a historical ..."

Stop right there.

There is nothing historical about this series. Some one should consider a law suit for false advertising. Calling this film historical, in any sense of that word, is like calling the Conan films historical.

At least in 300 they did get the names correct, mostly. I'm not sure the same is true here. Someone who knows Latin will need to render an opinion on that. The pronunciation sounded odd to me, but perhaps it was correct.

As Neuraleanus points out the costumes are a mixture of time periods and even then they are poor recreations.

No Historical Consultant is listed and it seems clear that no one bothered to look at any history books at all. Perhaps the series will get better as it goes along. No doubt the director and producers think they are making art given the shots used, and Starz has high hopes for they have already placed an order for a second season.

This Spartacus really makes you appreciate what Kubrick, Trumbo and Douglas achieved nearly 50 years ago.

There is nothing to recommend this film.
There is better porn on the internet
Better choreography at the Met
Better sword play in any number of samurai films
And the book by Barry Strauss tells a more interesting story.

Oh well ... another missed opportunity ....

:| shock: :? roll: :oops: Cry :evil:

Quote:This Spartacus really makes you appreciate what Kubrick, Trumbo and Douglas achieved nearly 50 years ago.
I agree, the 1962 Spartacus was so much better. The Starz series isn't in the same league.
Of course, it may be a bit unrealistic to ask a television showto match or even approach a production from Hollywood's golden era starring Douglas, written by Trumbo and directed by Kubrick.
Quote:Oh, and don't get me started about mixed sexes in the arena stands, women up above separate from the men, please.

I thought the sexes mixed during the Republic and segregation was an Imperial convention?
Quote:I thought the sexes mixed during the Republic and segregation was an Imperial convention?
If that is the case then I stand corrected. I thought that segregation of the sexes was always done.

I'm also waiting to see if the match referee shows up.
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